What’s the Best Hawaiian Snack?

What’s the Best Hawaiian Snack?

If you had a friend coming to Hawaii for just one day and you only had time to get them one local snack, what would it be?

Snack A: Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nuts

chocolate macadamia nuts
Photo by Tropic~7Surrounding something with flowers makes it look more Hawaiian

Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts are probably the most popular souvenir for tourists and deserve consideration as Hawaii’s best snack. They aren’t the most exciting snack though, as they just M&Ms with a different nut inside. Japanese tourists love them though, and you can usually see them hauling bags of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts through the airport.

Where to get ’em: Walmart, ABC Stores, Longs Drugs, Costco, most grocery stores.

Snack B: Shave Ice

Photo by Fuzzy GerdesThere is no such thing as too much shave ice

Shave ice is ice that’s been shaved down into small pieces and drowned in syrup. Local vendors also like to put ice cream, mochi balls, and other goodies in their shave ice concoctions. Shave ice is very popular here and everyone I know has a “shave ice spot.”

Where to get ’em: Waiola Shave Ice (Honolulu-Moilili), Matsumoto Shave Ice (Haleiwa), Ailana Shave Ice (Waikiki) or make your own!

Snack C: Malasadas

Photo by JoyPortugal’s gift to Hawaii

“Malasadas” are Portuguese donuts. A mixture of flour, yeast, butter, and millk is deep-fried and then dipped in sugar. It’s a very simple recipe and also a very delicious one. I’ve also heard of creme-filled malasadas, for those who want to take gluttony to another level ;-).

Where to get ’em: Leonard’s Bakery (Honolulu-Kapahulu), Champion Malasadas (Honolulu)

Snack D: Crack Seed

Li Hing Mui - crack seed
Photo by Viriditas

Don’t worry, “crack seed” isn’t some sort of illicit drug in Hawaii. Crack seed is a variety of dried and pickled fruits and candies splashed with a sweet, red powder called li hing mui. Crack seed was introduced to Hawaii by migrant Chinese workers a long time ago. If you walk into a crack seed shop and can’t decide what to get, I suggest the li hing mui mango.

Where to get ’em: Kay’s Crackseed (Honolulu-Manoa), C-Mui Center (Honolulu-Chinatown), or any Longs Drugs

Snack E: Haupia

Photo by Arnold GatilaoHaupia is the love-child of a coconut and Jello

Haupia” is either pudding or a gelatin made from coconut milk. Anytime there is a luau, haupia is usually the dessert, as it is a traditional food. Haupia is also a flavor that you can find in a lot of local foods like ice cream or pie filling. At times throughout the year, McDonalds will sell delicious haupia pies.

Where to get ’em: at a luau, sometimes at McDonalds (haupia pie), Zippy’s (haupia cake)

Snack F: Mochi Ice Cream

Photo by JanineIt’s like biting into soft and squishy clouds

“Mochi” is a Japanese snack made by pounding cooked rice into a big blob and adding sugar to it. A more contemporary version of this is mochi ice cream, which is as soft and delicate as desserts get.

Where to get ’em: Bubbies (Honolulu-University and Hawaii Kai), Shirokiya (Ala Moana shopping center), Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. You can also buy Mikawaya’s mochi ice cream (pictured below) in Longs Drugs stores

Photo by flippinyank


Snack G: Arare, “Mochi Crunch”

Photo by Stephen PierzchalaThere are 10 different arare crackers here, but they all taste the same.

Arare” or “mochi crunch” or “kakimochi” is the Japanese version of potato chips. They are very crunchy and flavored with seaweed strips and soy sauce. One interesting thing is how much detail the makers put into these little rice crackers. I mean, when’s the last time a bag of potato chips looked so diverse?

Where to get ’em: gas stations, grocery stores, EVERYWHERE

Closing Thoughts

These are the most popular Hawaiian snacks that come to mind. I actually don’t eat of them now, but I really enjoyed them as a kid growing up in Hawaii. I’m sure there are many snacks I’m forgetting. If so, be sure to mention them in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “What’s the Best Hawaiian Snack?

  1. i’m from michigan and i’ve never heard of any of these. i thought that people in hawaii just eat pineapples and coconuts for fun? lol.

      1. LOL..why because he is joking about what you all should eat? So you would not be so fat!?

    1. why do you think the people are obese..lots of sugars and fat food. and they called you a racist..ignorance is bliss

      1. “why do you think the people are obese”

        Hawaii is usually in the top ten for thinnest and healthiest states. I’ve seen it ranked high as 2nd and low as 9th out of 50 states.

        In your case you’re right, ignorance is bliss.

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